D.C. museum exhibiting piece of Andersonville's history

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comApril 9, 2014 

The "Dead Man's Irons," on display at the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C.

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A piece of the Civil War-era South has made its way north.

They're called the "Dead Man's Irons" — rivets still in place — and they were an infamous set of leg manacles used at the more infamous Andersonville prison during the Civil War; and they're now on display in Washington, D.C.

The District's 28,000 square-foot Crime Museum displays "firearms, detection equipment, prison art, and automobiles ... from hundreds of justice and law enforcement divisions nationwide, including several from the state of Georgia," according to a release. "The harsh realities of crime manifest themselves through artifacts and instruments of forensics, investigation, enforcement and violence."

Andersonville was notoriously overcrowded and under-rationed during the war; thousands of its prisoners died. The Museum's irons were well-named "because they were riveted on the legs and could only be removed by pulling them off the wasted limbs of a prisoner who had died or by a blacksmith."

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